In early December 2013, I dismantled the layout that I had called the California Northwestern. I had started it almost 12 years before and it was fully completed. It's always a bit sad to tear down a layout but at the same time I am looking forward to starting the new one.
When I built the California Northwestern my goal was to try as many new ideas (new to me anyway) as possible. I consider this to have been a successful layout when I recall everything I've learned from it. While I was dismantling it, I recalled many of the things I had tried, what worked well, and what did not. I got out the camera and documented some of them. This is how we learn and build the next layout even better than the last.
I had used the Busch instant roadway product for my highway. In this photo it is very noticeable that it had cracked and split where the material had been bent around a curve. The material had generally degraded by about 8 years after being installed.
The raised areas of the layout were built with Styrofoam sheet to match the Woodland Scenics Styrofoam risers. While the risers worked out fine, I would not recommend using Styrofoam for scenery base. Besides being more messy, it also is not very firm as a sub roadbed. The six turnouts on this layout were built on 1/8 inch acrylic sheet as a unit including the cork road bed, Peco code 55 turnouts, and Tortoise motors. After being thoroughly tested, these units were then placed into cutouts in the foam and secured with Liquid Nails adhesive. This meant they were non serviceable but they never gave me any problems in 11 years of service.